The salary cap-strapped Pittsburgh Steelers spent the early portions of the offseason watching key starters leave. Bud Dupree, Steven Nelson, Mike Hilton, Vince Williams, all gone from one of the best defenses in the NFL.
With Hilton departing for AFC North rival Cincinnati and Nelson forcing his release, the Steelers secondary is headed for the 2021 season with question marks after being one of the top units in the NFL last season.
"I've been able to create an opportunity for myself now and ready to roll with it with a full head of steam," Sutton said on Monday, via the Associated Press.
Sutton, a 2017 third-round pick, has missed just one game the past three seasons but made only eight starts in his career, including six in 2020. Playing a career-high 619 snaps, including playoffs, Sutton had his best season last year, compiling one INT, eight passes defended, 30 tackles and a sack.
In a limited role, Sutton was one of the Steelers' better cover-men last year. After losing two starters in the secondary, the 26-year-old is ready for a bigger opportunity.
"With (Nelson, et al.) departing and still embarking on their journey, that's creating opportunity for guys in our building," Sutton said.
As Pittsburgh has watched key defenders leave this season, team brass expressed confidence the depth players they retained can step into those roles and keep the Steelers competitive in a tough AFC North. Sutton is one of those players ready to prove he's capable of playing a full-time starting role.
"Pittsburgh has had confidence in me since Day 1," he said. "(They) gave me every opportunity to step forth and live out my dreams. Just to be able to continue that now, I'm all for it."